Illinois Tech is undertaking a major revision to how Blackboard is hosted and managed. We expect that starting with the Spring 2017 semester, you should see improved performance. In addition, this initiative will allow us in the future to take greater advantage of new features as they become available.
This revision is a major undertaking, and completing the final steps in this work involve making Blackboard temporarily unavailable to users. The Blackboard system will be down starting January 2, 2017 through January 8, 2017; this is the week immediately preceding the start of the upcoming semester.
Blackboard will be available before the start of classes on Monday, January 9, 2017, and we will try to make it available earlier if possible.
During the blackout window of January 2-8, 2017, users will not be able to interact with any content/data in Blackboard, nor will the Support Desk, other parts of OTS, IIT Online, etc.
However, until the system is taken down on January 2:
If you have questions, please contact the IIT Support Desk at 312-567-3375 or email@example.com. Please keep in mind that university offices, including IIT Online and the Support Desk, will be closed from December 26 through January 2.
We apologize for the inconvenience and fully understand that any disruption is undesirable. We sincerely believe that the decision to complete the migration at this time is the best of all available options. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Want to learn more about specific features in Blackboard?
Join IIT Online's Brad Katz and Katie Burns on Thursdays in the Collaboration Space in IIT Online offices (Stuart Building, Room 103). Each Thursday a different topic will be discussed in depth - this week, the topic is SafeAssign + Assignments. See details about this and other upcoming topics in IIT Today, or in the Blackboard Training calendar below.
We have made a number of changes to Blackboard for the coming term. Some of these are look-and-feel changes like the color scheme; some of these are functional changes to streamline and optimize access; some of these are added features like adding Organizations to the system. To preview a few screenshots, take a look at New UI for Fall 15.
Courses themselves should perform the same.
You should see these changes in Blackboard after OTS's maintenance window on Friday 8.14.15
As always, if you have requests for, questions about, or issues with technical performance of the main Blackboard system or Blackboard Collaborate, please contact the OTS Support Desk.
If you are faculty, a teaching assistant, or staff and need training or would like consultation around usage and application best practices, please contact IIT Online. In addition, if you are in one of these groups, IIT Online will be offering training/orientation sessions. Please consult this for more detailed information: http://iit.edu/news/iittoday/?p=46179
We have enabled a number of exciting new features in Blackboard Learn for the Spring 15 term: Inline Grading and Blackboard Collaborate integration.
Faculty using Bb Learn to post assignments and receive student work can now review that work and comment on it online without having to download those documents. We expect this to be much more convenient for faculty and students and a very powerful tool, particularly in combination with SafeAssign, Bb's the integrated plagiarism/originality feature. For a general explanation of inline grading, please watch this brief video from Blackboard. Faculty may also contact IIT Online's Brad Katz, firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions about this feature.
In addition to the Bb Learn LMS, Illinois Tech is now licensed across the university to use Collaborate. Collaborate is a synchronous tool with a shared whiteboard and application sharing, as well as A/V and text-based chat, breakout rooms, live polling, and recording. It is fully integrated with Learn as a tool and can leverage student rosters and the Grade Center. There are also stand-alone mobile apps (iOS and Android) for Collaborate. We are really excited about the the potential for this tool but we must also highlight that there is a learning curve and a need for practice before one might use it effectively. In addition, live sessions present a different need for service/support responsiveness. To make sure that everyone has the best experience, we strongly encourage faculty to contact IIT Online for more details before using Collaborate.
Blackboard Learn and Collaborate overview sessions for faculty are now scheduled for January. Here's the information posted in IIT Today.
Collaborate is Illinois Tech's new synchronous online collaboration tool that will be available in every course shell with the spring semester. If you are faculty and interested in learning more about this new tool, attend an overview session and check out the new Collaborate Training (BB_TD_COLLABORATE_TRAINING) course shell in the permanent training term in Blackboard. The course is self-enrolling with an access code; we created directions to make it easy to enroll. It is strongly recommended that faculty review the recordings of sessions already conducted to become familiar with this new tool. The course also contains resources and additional information to assist in using Collaborate. Recording and workshop descriptions, schedules, and instructions for accessing the Collaborate tool for the first time can be found here.
Blackboard Learn (Bb) was updated to the latest service pack during the August 15, 2014, routine OTS service window. This update includes regular software updates plus a few new features to improve the student and faculty functionality and experience. New features include SafeAssign integration into the Assignment function, and a trueStudent Preview ability. You may also notice a few other features in this update. Over the semester, the Bb at IIT team may more formally introduce these additional features and provide additional faculty training. In the meantime, please look at the new walk-throughs and cheat sheets in IIT Bb Resources and wherever you see a NEW 8/14: note. You can also learn more at a faculty session, sign up under Training.
The main topic for SLATE's February 2.19.14 meeting is a "Course Design Showcase & Panel":
"Every institution with online courses deals with online course design. This panel will be an opportunity for institutions to highlight what they are doing in their online courses and compare notes on design do's and don’ts. Panel members will be invited to share an online course (or more) to highlight the types of tools, activities, and resources they are utilizing and ask the group for suggestions on areas they are still trying to improve."
This is an open meeting and participation is free but an RSVP for face-to face attendees is requested by 2.17.14. Please follow this link if you want more details: http://goo.gl/bwhzFa
You can also log in and watch/participate remotely via the web.
SLATE is an acronym for Supporting Learning and Technology in Education and was formed in part as our regional Blackboard user group. It is platform independent, though, and member institutions use a range of LMS solution including Moodle and Canvas. The focus tends to be on practice rather than specific tools:
For more information, visit the Slate website: http://www.slategroup.org/
You can also reach out to Brad Katz (email@example.com or 312.567.7213) with questions.
Please be aware that access to the old Blackboard 8 system (used prior to Spring 2013) will end with the end of this semester. If faculty have any courses or content to keep from the old system, please use the export feature now to save content to a personal system before Friday night, December 13. That is the routine OTS maintenance window when OTS will decommission Blackboard 8.
Should faculty need any old course content (again, this is ONLY for CONTENT PRIOR TO January 2013), please export it and save it to your own computer until ready to import it into the current system, Blackboard 9.1. Faculty may use individual MyIIT credentials to log into the old system at http://oldblackboard.iit.edu/. Faculty may review courses there and if necessary, export courses and/or content before December 13. In a rare instance where a faculty member may need to access content from Blackboard 8 after this time, faculty will need to open a support request through the Support Desk.
To assist with exporting and importing content, faculty should make use of these resources: